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Buffy Season Eight: Wolves at the Gate, Part 4

Andrew: "My giant-sized teammate is fighting a mechanized version of herself on the streets of downtown Tokyo. I've been preparing for this day my entire life!"

Synopsis:

The battle between Buffy's Slayers and the ninja vamps is in progress. The first few panels show Renee's point of view, mostly of a stunned and bloody Xander, as she realizes that she is dying. Unable to speak as her vision goes white, her last thoughts are, "I never got to tell him. Xander, I'm not ready."

Buffy orders the Slayers to surround Renee and Xander, as Dracula tells Buffy that he can stop the ninja vamps but that he needs Buffy's witch. Buffy says she cannot leave Xander alone. Dracula says that Xander is not alone, and he proves it by wreaking ninja vamp havoc. Buffy leaves Satsu in command and jumps off the roof toward Willow and Kumiko, who are fighting in mid-air.

Kumiko asks Willow if she thought she was Saga Vasuki's only student. (Who is that?) Willow and Kumiko apparently communicate telepathically. Willow passes out and sees a city in flames. The Scythe is at the bottom of the panel, and a green snaky-looking woman with flaming hair is on the right, apparently the cause of it all. (Is this Saga Vasuki?) Buffy lands on Kumiko and stakes her in mid air, and frantically tries to wake Willow before the two of them hit the ground.

Back to the battle. Rowena the slayer says they have to fall back. Giant Dawn arrives and says, "We don't run." Toru and Raidon "employ countermeasures" which apparently consists of siccing a giant robot Dawn on the real Dawn. Giant Dawn and Giant MechaDawn fight. Toru looks down and says, "Well, there's something you don't see every day."

With Kumiko gone, Toru decides to do the incantation himself. He holds up the Scythe in front of the giant red lens and begins chanting. And, surprisingly, Dracula to the rescue; he tackles Toru, the Scythe goes flying, and Satsu jumps off the roof after it. (Lots of plummeting in this issue.)

Back to Buffy and Willow, who have landed in a huge pool of water that has magically appeared in the middle of the street, which is all Willow had time for before they hit the ground. Soaking wet, the two of them stand there and watch Satsu descend as they have a brief, funny conversation about not being each other's types.

Under Willow's power, Willow, Buffy and Satsu land on the roof, and Willow uses Dracula's mystical sword together with the big red lens portal to break the ninja vamps' special foggy powers. Big white light, and the ninja vamps are just regular vamps again. Sort of a reversal there, hoisting them with their own petard and so on. Buffy and her slayers do what they do do so well.

Meanwhile, Dawn is fighting Mecha Dawn, and not doing so well. Andrew, sci-fi geek extraordinaire, excitedly tells Dawn that she can detach MechaDawn's control center by decapitating her. MechaDawn keeps talking about Dawn's weaknesses, particularly with boys, and an enraged Dawn tears its metal head off.

Toru and Dracula face off. Toru calls Dracula an old man. Dracula makes mincevamp out of him, but deliberately stops short of dusting him. Dracula hands his sword to Xander in order to let Xander strike the killing blow. As the slayers mop up the rest of the vamps, Xander cries in Buffy's arms.

Night, and back at local headquarters in Tokyo. Dracula says a rather amusing goodbye to a stubbly, devastated-looking Xander before Dracula's ship departs. Buffy and Satsu say goodbye and make love one more time; Satsu has decided to stay in Tokyo so that she can get over Buffy. Willow meditates, with green snaky-looking woman floating in the air above her in her imagination. Xander pours Renee's ashes on the ground.

Review:

This concluding issue wrapped up a lot of stories, and did it well. The ninja vamp threat was eliminated in a particularly satisfying way, and they couldn't have done it without Dracula, who turned out to be very cool. He stayed on the side of right, kept his word, and showed surprisingly consistent loyalty and true friendship toward Xander. Man, I thought vampires without souls were supposed to be evil.

I must repeat that making Dawn a giant has completely changed my former antipathy toward her character. Giant Dawn just works. She's funny and fun instead of annoying and whiny. The big battle with MechaDawn was a hoot.

Xander's heart was broken again. Buffy's latest lover got her heart broken, too. Pretty much situation normal for the love lives of the Scoobies. I thought the opening panels where Renee was realizing she was dying but couldn't speak out loud were effective and quite sad.

The highlight of this issue for me was Buffy and Willow, soaking wet and watching Satsu descending toward the street as they had the inevitable, uncomfortable conversation about why they will never be a couple. Very amusing.

Who was green snaky-looking woman? I went through some of the old issues and saw her once: in #10, as one of Willow's sexual fantasies in "Anywhere but Here." Willow was naked in her arms. Now I'm curious.

Quotes:

Buffy: "... It's just like a diving board it's just like a diving board it's just like a diving board..."

Buffy: "Not like a diving board! Not like a diving board AT ALL!"

Buffy: "Sidewalk into water?"
Willow: "Short notice."
Buffy: "I'm not complainin'."

Buffy: "Oh, yeah? Well, then, you're not on my list either!"
Willow: "Good. I don't want to be."
Buffy: "Sure you do. It's a very distinguished list. It has people like... um... Judi Dench and Eleanor Roosevelt on it."
Willow: "Ew. Just got the visual."

MechaDawn: "My name is Dawn."
Dawn: "That doesn't sound anything like me!"
MechaDawn: "I am a teenage girl."
Dawn: "Then why do you have a tail?"

MechaDawn: "I like blue jeans. And irony."

MechaDawn: "I cry a lot."
Dawn: "That's not true!"
MechaDawn: "I often let boys take advantage of my weak emotional states."
Dawn: "No, I do not!"

Raidon: "I bet you taste sweet, Slayer."
Satsu: "You have no idea. (stakes him) I can't believe I just said that out loud."

Xander: "Hey, Dracula... if you call me 'Manservant' again... I'll kill you in your sleep."
Dracula: "Hm. Perhaps you're right. Something like 'lackey' or 'minion,' then."
Xander: "Absolutely not."
Dracula: "Houseboy?"
Xander: "Still getting killed."

I think this one might rate four out of four stars,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

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